Tag Archive for Class of 2018

Wilson ’18 Wins Fundraising Competition at Clinton Global Initiative University Conference

Siri McGuire '17, Taiga Araki ’17, Alvin Chitena ’19, AJ Wilson ’18, Makaela Kingsley '98 (director of the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship) and Ferdinand Quayson ’20 attended the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) Conference in Boston.

Siri McGuire ’17, Taiga Araki ’17, Alvin Chitena ’19, AJ Wilson ’18, Makaela Kingsley ’98 (director of the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship) and Ferdinand Quayson ’20 gathered for a group photo prior to the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) Conference in Boston.

Dreams are coming true for AJ Wilson ’18, founder of the non-profit organization Dream Chasers.

During the 10th annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) Conference in Boston Oct. 13-15, Dream Chasers won a Crowdrise fundraising competition and set the record for most money raised ($18,025) by any single group. For his efforts, Wilson was congratulated by Chelsea Clinton, Congressman Joe Kennedy III and former president Bill Clinton.

AJ Wilson '18 was honored by Chelsea Clinton, vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, during the Clinton Global Initiative University Conference on Oct. 14. (Photo by Diana Levine/Clinton Foundation)

AJ Wilson ’18 was honored by Chelsea Clinton, vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, during the Clinton Global Initiative University Conference on Oct. 14. (Photo by Diana Levine/Clinton Foundation)

Wilson, who grew up in Kennesaw, Georgia, created Dream Chasers to close the academic and opportunity gaps in the South and Midwest through a collection of different programs and initiatives. In five years, the team has impacted the lives of more than 5,300 students and helped students earn $1.4 million in scholarships.

Dream Chasers wasn’t the only Wesleyan student-created organization represented—and invited to—CGI U. Attendee Alvin Chitena ’19 spoke about his organization, ZimCode, which provides Zimbabwean youth with free access to resources they need—computers, internet access and instruction—to learn computer programming and how to apply their new skills in their community.

Ferdinand Quayson ’20, founder of Young Achievers Foundation Ghana, created the organization to provide disadvantaged students in Northern Ghana access to higher education through scholarship workshops and innovative in-school mentorship programs.

Wesleyan Students Capture “Vibrant Wesleyan Jewish Life” in Forward

Writing in the Forward, Matt Renetzky ’18 and Talia Kaplan ’18 share their experience with the “vibrant Wesleyan Jewish Life” scene.

“Perhaps the most unique thing about our community is just how student-run it is. Jewish life evolves from year-to-year based on the desires and needs of the current student body,” write Kaplan, who is affiliated with the Wesleyan Jewish Community, and Renetzky, who is affiliated with Chabad. “If you’re looking for pluralism in Jewish background and practice, Wesleyan is for you.”

View Wes in the World Photo Contest Winning Submissions

Earlier this year, the Fries Center for Global Studies sponsored its annual Wes in the World Photo Contest, which celebrates the spirit of global citizenship and encourages students to reflect upon their global experiences. Photos were submitted by students and recent alumni who have studied abroad or who have a home country outside of the United States.

Selected photos are below. View all submitted photos online.

Winner: Best Photograph of Nature | "March, Lake Moke, New Zealand. That night four of my friends (Kirsten, Mel, Jo, and Caroline) and I brought our sleeping bags outside our tents while it was freezing, so that Kirsten and I could work on taking star pictures. This photo represents encompasses my life abroad where I spent almost every weekend traveling, camping, and seeing some of the most breathtaking views with amazing people." (Submitted by: Heidi Westerman '17)

Winner, Best Photograph of Nature: “March, Lake Moke, New Zealand. That night four of my friends (Kirsten, Mel, Jo, and Caroline) and I brought our sleeping bags outside our tents while it was freezing, so that Kirsten and I could work on taking star pictures. This photo represents my life abroad, where I spent almost every weekend traveling, camping and seeing some of the most breathtaking views with amazing people.” (Submitted by Heidi Westerman ’17)

Biology Team Samples Drought-Tolerant Bacteria in Death Valley

Nicole DelGaudio ’18 samples the rhizospheres of a juniper tree at about 7,000 feet above sea level.

Nicole DelGaudio ’18 samples the rhizosphere of a juniper tree.

This spring, a research team from Wesleyan traveled to Death Valley National Park to explore the ways bacteria diversifies in extreme environments.

Death Valley, located about 130 miles west of Las Vegas, is a below-sea-level basin known for being the hottest place on earth and driest place in North America. The average rainfall is less than 2 inches, annually.

“National parks are ideal for research, in general, because the land is protected indefinitely from commercial development,” said team leader Fred Cohan, professor of biology, professor of environmental studies. “Death Valley is a nice model system for exobiology because of its extreme habitat.”

Cohan, along with graduate student Jerry Lee, Bella Wiener ’19 and Nicole DelGaudio ’18, traveled to California May 29 through June 4. During this time, the researchers trekked through miles of parched — and often prickly — landscapes seeking to sample root soil, or rhizosphere, from various plant species, each over a wide range of elevations that differ notably in their temperatures.

Chong ’18 Repeats as DIII Honda Athlete of the Year Nominee for Tennis

Eudice Chong '18

Eudice Chong ’18. (Photo by Jonas Powell ’18)

For the third consecutive year, Eudice Chong ’18 of the women’s tennis team was named the Division III Honda Athlete of the Year nominee for tennis, as announced by Executive Director Chris Voelz of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) presented by Honda.

“This past season has been a crazy ride, with our team trying to make small steps each day to improve our chances of coming up on top every match,” said Chong, the three-time NCAA Individual Singles Champion as well as the 2017 Individual Doubles Champion. “The camaraderie we have in our team is what keeps our team focused on reaching a common goal, and the support I get from them is phenomenal.”

Chong is the first player in NCAA Division III Women’s Individual Tournament history to win three-consecutive singles titles. She also captured her first DIII NCAA Double’s Championship to become the first player since 2004 to win both NCAA titles in the same year.

“It is nice to be playing at the Individual NCAA Championships knowing that my teammates will be cheering me on, but hopefully next year, we will be able to make the Elite 8 and compete as a team at the tournament venue as well,” she said. “It is such an honor to be nominated for such a prestigious award, showing that hard work really does pay off!”

Students Honored with Academic Prizes, Fellowships, Scholarships

Trinity Russell’17 received the Walkley Prize for excellence in psychology; Mae Moskin ’19 received the Scott Prize for Arabic language; and Cheryl Hagan ’17 received the Spurrier Award for ethics.

During the annual student awards reception on May 10, Trinity Russell’17 received the Walkley Prize for excellence in psychology; Mae Moskin ’19 was honored with the Scott Prize for Arabic language; and Cheryl Hagan ’17 received the Spurrier Award for ethics.

Students who received academic prizes, fellowships and scholarships were honored at a reception May 10 in Daniel Family Commons.

Mira Klein ’17 received the White Fellowship for government and the Robert Schumann Distinguished Student Award. Joli Holmes ’17 received the Plukas Prize for economics and the Plukas Teaching Apprentice Award.

Mira Klein ’17 received the White Fellowship and the Robert Schumann Distinguished Student Award. Joli Holmes ’17 received the Plukas Prize for economics and the Plukas Teaching Apprentice Award.

Among the awardees were Mira Klein ’17, who received the White Fellowship for government and the Robert Schumann Distinguished Student Award for demonstrating academic accomplishment and excellence in environmental stewardship; Page Nelson ’17, who received the Alumni Prize in the History of Art; Eric Meyreles ’18, who received a Miller Summer Internship Grant to pursue an internship related to a potential business career; Ainsley Eakins ’18, who received the university’s Social Activist Award; Sofi Goode ’17, who is the recipient of the Wilde Prize for excellence in economics; and AJ Wilson ’19, who was honored with the Richard McLellan Prize for commitment to public service and diversity.

Students Inducted into Honor Society, Win Awards At American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Julianne Riggs in Chicago last month, where she attended the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology meeting.

Julianne Riggs ’17 in Chicago last month, where she attended the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology meeting.

Five Wesleyan seniors were inducted into the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology honor society at the ASBMB annual meeting in Chicago, April 22-26. They are: Jennifer Cascino ’17, Kaileen Fei ’17, Julianne Riggs ’17, Rachel Savage ’17 and Stacy Uchendu ’17.

The ASBMB Honor Society recognizes exceptional undergraduate juniors and seniors who are pursuing a degree in the molecular life sciences for their scholarly achievement, research accomplishments, and outreach activities. The mission of the society is to advance the science of biochemistry and molecular biology through organization of scientific meetings, advocacy for funding of basic research and education, support of science education at all levels, promotion of the diversity of individuals entering the scientific workforce, and publication of a number of scientific and educational journals, including the Journal of Biological Chemistry and the Journal of Lipid Research.

Bios of all the inductees, in alphabetical order, can be found here.

Riggs attended the meeting, where she took part in the induction ceremony and presented her research.

“Overall, it was a great experience. I got to present in the undergraduate poster competition and won honorable mention for best chromatin and gene expression poster. I also presented my poster to the general meeting,” she said. “It was a huge conference and there was so much going on. It was great to talk to people of all levels of science, get their perspectives on what it takes to be a scientist, and hear them passionately discuss their research projects. It was also wonderful to talk to people who were researching similar topics to mine, and get their advice and validation on my work.”

In addition, two students, Christine Little ’18 and Cody Hecht ’18, received ASBMB research awards. The $1,000 awards will support their research over the summer.

Kahindi ’18 Named Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellow

claudia

Claudia Kahindi ’18

Claudia Kahindi ’18 has been named a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact, a non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education. She joins a distinguished group of 273 community-committed students, all nominated by college presidents or chancellors, from across the Campus Compact network of schools in this one-year fellowship.

The Newman Civic Fellowship is supported by the KPMG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation. It honors the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders and a tireless advocate for civic engagement in higher education.

“Leadership everywhere is going through a crisis. Social justice issues and polarisation continue to escalate. I am therefore privileged to have received this fellowship, because it will nurture and develop my leadership skills, and hence enable me to be part of the solution,” said Kahindi. “I believe it’s my civic duty to learn values that will make me a better person and a better leader in the future. I am so excited because this is another step towards my leadership and activism journey.”

During the fellowship year, Kahindi will have access to a variety of virtual and in-person learning and networking opportunities, including a national conference of Newman Civic Fellows in November in Boston. Fellows meet quarterly with a designated mentor, and also have pathways to exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities. The 2017 cohort is the first to participate in a completely re-designed fellowship experience emphasizing personal, professional and civic growth.

Four Students Awarded NASA Connecticut Space Grants

Grant recipient Rami Hamati '19, left, at a workshop sponsored last summer by the CT Space Grant on helicopters and other small aircraft.

Grant recipient Rami Hamati ’19, left, is pictured at a workshop sponsored last summer by the Connecticut Space Grant on helicopters and other small aircraft.

Four Wesleyan undergraduate students have received grants from NASA’s Connecticut Space Grant Consortium.

Astronomy major Hannah Fritze ’18 was awarded $5,000 for an Undergraduate Research Fellowship Grant titled, “Searching for Intermediate Mass Black Holes in Ultraluminous X-ray Binaries.” This grant will support her research this coming semester on black holes with Roy Kilgard, support astronomer and research associate professor of astronomy.

Avi Stein ’17, who is majoring in astronomy, was awarded $1,000 for a Student Travel Grant. He will be presenting his research on Venus—conducted with Martha Gilmore, the George I. Seney Professor of Geology, professor of earth and environmental sciences—at the 48th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) in March.

Rami Hamati ’19 and David Machado ’18 each received a $5,000 undergraduate scholarship. According to Seth Redfield, associate professor of astronomy, associate professor of integrative sciences, these scholarships are awarded to students who show promise as a major in a STEM field related to NASA’s mission.

Read about past recipients of Connecticut Space Grants here and here.

Wesleyan Celebrates Historic Memorial Day Weekend for Women’s Tennis, Crew

28May2016 Eunice Chong of Wesleyen University won the NCAA Division III Womens Tennis Championship match over Juli Raventos of Williams at Kalamazoo Colleges Stowe Stadium.

Eudice Chong ’18 won the NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Championship finals over Juli Raventos of Williams at Kalamazoo College’s (MI) Stowe Stadium. She’s pictured here with Head Coach Mike Fried.

The 2016 Memorial Day Weekend was a historic one for Wesleyan athletics as women’s tennis player Eudice Chong ’18 defended her crown as the NCAA Division III Individual Singles Champion, and the women’s crew team captured a bronze medal in the Varsity 8 Grand Final at the NCAA Division III Rowing Championships.

Chong, a First Team All-NESCAC selection for the second consecutive season, capped off an incredible sophomore campaign with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Juli Raventos of Williams College in the championship finals of the singles bracket. Chong and Raventos met twice, earlier in the season, with Raventos claiming both matches — the only two losses of Chong’s collegiate career. With a win over Raventos in the third match-up of the season, Chong became Wesleyan’s second two-time national champion in school history.

She also remains the only national champion in Wesleyan tennis history, and boasts an incredible 52-2 overall record in two seasons. In addition to her individual singles title, Chong also reached the doubles semifinals with teammate Aashli Budhiraja ’18. Read more here.

While Chong was excelling on the tennis court, the women’s crew team was busy placing third overall in the Varsity 8 Grand Final at the 2016 NCAA Division III Rowing Championships in Gold River, Calif. With a time of 6:47.82, the Cardinals became the first at-large team to win a bronze medal in the history of the national championships. Wesleyan was edged by Wellesley, who finished first in 6:46.10, while Williams placed second in 6:47.40. Read more here.

In addition to Wesleyan’s varsity athletics success, the Cardinals’ club sports also shined as the women’s ultimate frisbee team finished second in the USA Ultimate Division III College Championships.

Women's Crew claimed bronze in the 2016 NCAA Division III Rowing Championships.

Women’s Crew claimed bronze in the 2016 NCAA Division III Rowing Championships.

Wesleyan’s T.R.A.P. House Business Incubator Working in Hartford’s North End

Members of team behind TRAP House, one of the three social ventures that won a seed grant, presented their pitch before a live audience of the Board of Trustees, Patricelli Center Advisory Board and others.

Members of team behind T.R.A.P. House, one of the three social ventures that won a seed grant, presented their pitch before a live audience of the Board of Trustees, Patricelli Center Advisory Board and others.

The Hartford Courant has featured the work of T.R.A.P House, a nonprofit business incubator that targets high-crime, high-poverty areas and has recently started working in the north end of Hartford. T.R.A.P. House is the creation of a team from Wesleyan: Irvine Peck’s-Agaya ’18, Gabe Weinreb ’18, Sara Eismont ’18, and Bashaun Brown, a former student in Wesleyan’s Center for Prison Education, where he earned 16 credits while serving six years at the Cheshire Correctional Institution for bank robbery.

Brown will be a member of Wesleyan’s Class of 2018, starting in the fall.

T.R.A.P. stands for “transforming, reinventing and prospering,” and is a play on the street slang for a place to buy and sell drugs. According to the Courant:

The acronym doubles as the organization’s mission statement. Brown wants to set up shop in the North End and recruit drug dealers, providing them an outlet to “pivot their skills to the legal economy” through college-level entrepreneurship classes.

He has already started to make his rounds, visiting halfway houses and touring neighborhoods, spreading word of what he’s doing.

“There are no headhunters looking at these people, no one’s looking to hire them,” Brown said. “But I believe you have the same type of people in these neighborhoods that have the same business acumen that you might find at Harvard or Yale. They’re just using it for the wrong reasons.”

Brown knows this all too well from his upbringing on the streets of Plainfield, N.J., a city 30 miles south of Newark where “preteens act as lookouts and drug mules in exchange for soda-and-chip money.” He tried to distance himself from this life by enrolling at Morehouse College, but after one year, “his dreams collapsed under the weight of debt.” He returned home and made a series of bad decisions that ultimately landed him in prison.

Wesleyan Class Studies ‘Lost Tribe’ of Lower Connecticut River

The Hartford Courant reported on a study of the Wangunks, the indigenous people of Middletown and Portland, Conn., by members of a Wesleyan course taught by J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, associate professor of anthropology, associate professor of environmental studies. Eleven students spent a semester in the archives of the Middlesex County Historical Society studying the Wangunks as part of a course on local Native Americans: “Decolonizing Indigenous Middletown: Native Histories of the Wangunk Indian People.” Four of those students presented their research at a March seminar at Russell Library.

According to the story:

The Wesleyan students made use of a number of sources to piece together a comprehensive history of the Wangunk peoples, from their contact in the mid-1600s with the first English settlers of Middletown to the tribe’s gradual disappearance.

Through [Gary] O’Neal — a descendant of Jonathan Palmer, a Wangunk Indian who lived in East Hampton in the early 1800s — the students were able to learn about the tribe’s persistence in the area.

“We wanted to understand who the Wangunk were and what happened to them,” said [Maia] Neumann-Moore [’18], who looked at Wangunk migration patterns after the settling of Mattabessett, or Middletown, by the English in 1650. “It was as if the Wangunk disappeared into the woods. But they were here all along.”

The students found that the settlers were increasingly casual in their references to these Native Americans over time, especially their actual numbers. They said the word Wangunk appears often in 17th century records but far less frequently a century later, when a small band was living across the river on a reservation in Portland, known as Wangunk meadows.

Read the full story here.